Partners Participate in Delegation to Myanmar
In a country of over 50 million people, more than 90 percent of Myanmar’s population still uses solid fuels, often wood or charcoal, for their daily cooking. Earlier this month the Aspen Institute and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement led a Partnership Opportunity Delegation to Myanmar to explore opportunities for social enterprise in the country. As part of the Alliance’s ongoing efforts to build upon the work of others and facilitate opportunities for our partners, we teamed up to get the word out to our clean cooking partners in and around Myanmar.
The delegation offered participants the opportunity to explore social business and investment opportunities in Myanmar though meetings with government, NGOs, chambers of commerce, associations of women entrepreneurs, and leading private sector companies from the telecommunications, energy, and market research fields. The Alliance’s Regional Director of Market Development and partners working in Lao PDR, Vietnam, and India participated in the delegation along with impact investors, NGOs, and expert consultants from related fields. In addition, the ongoing efforts of partners Mercy Corps and Evergreen Group, already active in the cookstoves sector in Myanmar, were highlighted during the group’s week-long visit.
Because of the enormous need for clean cooking options in Myanmar, participants came away encouraged by the potential for market growth and the interest of the public and private sectors in the future of clean cooking in Myanmar. “In our meetings with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Forestry, we found them very receptive to leading an effort to include clean and improved stoves in tax exemptions, and in joint awareness campaigns,” said Arijit Basu, the Alliance’s Regional Director of Market Development for Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Hear what our partners had to say:
Green Generation JSC, Anh Nguyen, CEO (Vietnam)
“As a biomass cookstove designer and manufacturer in Vietnam aiming to serve low income rural households using agricultural residue as fuel, we always have a high interest in countries that are similar to Vietnam, especially countries in our region like Myanmar. A chance to visit people who are working in Myanmar, stove projects, real households, and stove retailers is highly valuable for us as we can have a clearer view of how to do business in Myanmar in general and the improved cook stove market in particular.”
“For a small social business like our company, it would be impossible for us to have such high quality meetings in terms of organizations, people we met, and information we received. We also had a chance to visit several households and markets in Mandalay and Yangon region to have a better understanding about their cooking customs and demand. In addition, this trip also gave me some valuable leads that can be our potential partners in Myanmar in the future. We are keeping in touch and expect to return to Myanmar as soon as we have local partner there.”
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Bastiaan Teune, Sector Leader Renewable Energy (Lao PDR)
“SNV operates dozens of renewable energy programmes around the world through innovative approaches that ignite markets in biogas, improved cookstoves, clean gasifiers and solar power, and it was keen to assess how these experiences fit into the context of Myanmar, and to explore partnerships with participants and national stakeholders. And yes, it certainly fits! One of the key insights gained from this visit was that all rural households use three-stone stoves, so there is little doubt about the need for clean cooking solutions and reducing the health impacts of smoke. Urban ceramic charcoal stoves can be an incremental improvement, saving up to 25% cooking time and fuel expenses, and biogas has potential as well.”
“The Myanmar stove markets are hampered by poor road conditions, lack of awareness, and challenges with the enabling environment (like taxation), while opportunities lay in the fact that the economy is developing fast and there is a distinct spirit among the population to advance. As such, households already demonstrated willingness and ability to invest in better cooking devices. SNV is eager to help ignite clean stove markets and to form effective partnerships among national and international stakeholders in the near future.”
C-Quest Capital, Mahua Acharya, Managing Director and Head of India Operations (India)
“CQC uses carbon credits as the financing mechanism to make basic energy access solutions available to low income groups at scale. Making clean cookstoves available to low income groups entails finding ways to close the affordability gap — between consumer ability to pay and the price of the stove. While this has traditionally been possible with carbon finance, that business model is no longer viable because of a collapsed market. We are therefore building alternative financing mechanisms to close the gap – such as results based aid or by monetizing other benefits. We have an active cookstoves distribution business in Nigeria, Zambia and Malawi, a recent and emerging business in India, and are exploring expansion to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.”